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Poetic Meter and Poetic Form Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0075536062 ISBN-10: 0075536064 Edition: Revised

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Poetic Meter and Poetic Form + The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms + Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; Revised edition (January 1, 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0075536064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0075536062
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 3.2 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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If you want to write better poetry or understand the poetry you read, then this is a good book to pick up.
adead_poet@hotmail.com
One of the most important things Fussell addresses is how the form of a poem affects the meaning and impression of the total poem.
Stephanie L. Wilde
This is a classic text, written with a great love of formal poetry, and referred to often by students and writers of poetry.
David Barndollar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie L. Wilde on September 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
Fussell's foreword says that his book is for aspiring readers, not aspiring writers. But if you are an aspiring poet, I think Fussell has something to offer that is absent in most "handbooks".

One of the most important things Fussell addresses is how the form of a poem affects the meaning and impression of the total poem. For example, he notes how many poetic forms are inevitably coloured by their initial or most famous use. He says regarding Tennyson's In Memoriam stanza-form, that it "is now so closely associated with the sturdy, serviceable elegaic atmosphere of In Memoriam itself that...its uses now seem limited to occasions which either resemble or mock the original" (Ch 8 The English Stanzas).

Another chapter that poets will find helpful is Metrical Variations, in which Fussell examines how poets substitute variant feet to create particular effects. Or if your interest is in free verse, he devotes a chapter to examining the characteristics of successful free verse, including how line breaks create effects.

This is not a substitute for a general handbook of poetry, and assumes a minimal knowledge of poetic technique, meter, &c. But if you are serious about reading or writing poetry, I don't think you can afford to miss this book.
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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Rocco Dormarunno on July 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
When I was 21 and in my first year of graduate school, Paul Fussell's "Poetic Meter and Poetic Form" was one of the first text books assigned to me. When I bought the book and saw how slim it was, I snickered, "Grad school's gonna be a walk in the park!"

Yeah, RIGHT!

This densely packed tome is not for the uninitiated and definitely not absorbed in just one reading. On and off, over the last 20 years, I have come back to this book to refresh my memory and, usually, to astonish myself. The book's real strength, besides Professor Fussell's obvious command of his subject, and his ability to convey that command, is in the sprinkling of dozens of anecdotes by and about poets about other poets and poetry. Even at this late date in my life, I can't pretend to understand the entire book but what I do understand I admire and respect. "Poetic Meter and Poetic Form" is not recommended to anyone studying poetry; it is urgently required.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By wjg@brooktrout.com on May 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is a classic of prosodic exposition. (And understand, when I call a book a classic, I am not just lapsing into a cliche; it really IS a classic.) Fussell shows us the relations between form and content, between rhyme and rhythm on the one hand and the function of these formal devices to illuminate meaning on the other. The book also devotes a chapter to empirical observations on the properties of free verse, and it includes a concise bibliography of other works on prosody. Highly recommended.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By David Barndollar on April 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a lucid, engaging short book on the elements of poetry listed in the title: meter and form. Fussell does not provide the kind of encyclopedic information found in many poetry "handbooks"; what he does offer is a basic approach to scansion and analysis, and models for using these techniques in reading and writing about poems. This is a classic text, written with a great love of formal poetry, and referred to often by students and writers of poetry. The only thing that keeps my rating under 10 is that it is fairly out of date, and there are more recent texts that cover contemporary poets and verse forms with more rigor than Fussell. But for a readable treatment of the accentual-syllabic tradition and the first century or so of free verse, this book is a gem.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By adead_poet@hotmail.com on March 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
I came across this book for my Poetic Analysis class in college. It is an exellent book on meter and form. I can't even say how much this book has helped me with both reading and writing poetry. If you want to write better poetry or understand the poetry you read, then this is a good book to pick up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Lobb on November 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
Fussell's command of formal verse is extensive and even if you're more inclined to free verse I highly recommend his book because it provides essential tools for becoming a more critical poetry reader. Scansion and the additional vocabulary have been the most useful tools for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By withallduerespect on October 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is really a fantastic book for those of us who are interested in the art form and all that entails. Namely this book focuses on how meter and forms are used to create and compliment the feelings of the poems in question. The first chapter on scansion is a bit of a boot camp (and godsend?) for those who have not been satisfied by mere wikipedia research. I must say I had a really difficult time, as both a writer and a reader, in discerning and implementing exactly the art of metrical analysis. Most of the chapters are well structured and interesting, but tend to focus on non-contemporary poetry, or even recent poetry, or poetry after 1900.
That being said, Paul Fussel is somewhat of a poetic prude, as exemplified in his exclusion of a discussion on free verse (a huge literary movement that erupted in the 20th century, as I'm sure you know)until this edition; even so, the chapter on free-verse is skimpy and pretty much useless. Unfortunately, I would say it's not worth the paper it's printed on. However, this book has a lot of great ideas on poetry, and if you take it with some skepticism, it should be a wonderful companion to any lover of poetry (but check your library first).
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